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Estimated Completion Time

1 segment/ 18 weeks


Do you know what it takes to keep an entire nation safe? Not only does this effort require knowledge on how to handle disasters, but it demands a cool head and tremendous leadership abilities. In National Security, you will have the opportunity to learn about the critical elements of the job, such as evaluating satellite information, analyzing training procedures, assessing military engagement, preparing intelligence reports, coordinating information with other security agencies, and applying appropriate actions to various threats. Put yourself in the position of the country’s decisive leaders and develop your own knowledge base and skill set necessary to meet the requirements of our nation’s most demanding career.

During this course, you will learn career-related skills and earn a badge for this accomplishment. A badge is a digital certification of your career-related learning that you can share on social media or with higher education platforms, colleges, potential employers, peers, and colleagues. Select this link to learn more about badges.

Note: content varies depending on course version. For currently enrolled students, please refer to the syllabus located in the course information area for curriculum specifics.


Major Topics and Concepts


Anatomy of National Security

  • Explain the evolution of national security from World War II to the present day.
  • Identify what the term “national security” means and its specific areas of concern.
  • Trace the structural changes within our national government that have occurred as a result of the development of national security strategy.
  • Explain how the Department of Homeland Security oversees the national security system and the major agencies involved.


Rules of Engagement in the National Security World

  • Identify and explain the purpose of treaties and defense treaties in which the United States is currently involved.
  • Understand the history of the United Nations and its role in international security.
  • Explain the role of the UN Security Council, including its powers and strategies.
  • Discuss the International Criminal Court, the four international crimes it investigates, and examples of these situations.
  • Evaluate the rules of engagement, as well as their importance, and apply them to real-life scenarios.


Ethics in National Security

  • Understand how international law and constitutional rights apply to national security issues.
  • Explain the ethical challenges surrounding issues of detention, specifically those related to habeas corpus.
  • Describe how treatment of detainees during interrogation challenge international law, specifically the Geneva Convention.
  • Understand the connection between privacy law and the Patriot Act, as well as the role of Edward Snowden.
  • Argue whether the United States behaved ethically in its pursuit of national security.


Intelligent Intelligence

  • Explain several different types of intelligence and how they are collected.
  • Understand how cryptography, satellites, and drones contribute to the intelligence-gathering process.
  • Describe the types of agencies working behind the scenes gathering intelligence and how they operate.
  • Identify a few types of careers in the intelligence community and their responsibilities.


National Disasters and Security

  • Identify why national disasters threaten the security of any country.
  • Describe the two primary agencies for addressing natural disasters.
  • Explain how Hurricane Katrina demonstrated flaws in the disaster response system, and how it resulted in change.
  • Understand how the disaster response system works among local, state, and national authorities and the role that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plays.
  • Recognize how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works to prevent and address outbreaks of diseases in order to prevent a widespread issue.


Human-Made Disasters and National Security

  • Identify the types of environmental disasters that are the result of human error or bad intention.
  • Discuss the industrial accidents and potential hazards that pose a threat to national security.
  • Examine the humanitarian crises that can affect the nation.
  • Explain how U.S. government agencies work to respond to and prevent human-made disasters.
  • Analyze at least one event from each type of human-made disaster to understand potential national security threats.


Terrorism and National Security

  • Identify how key changes in policy and agency procedure address the threats of terrorism brought to light by 9/11.
  • Define international and domestic terrorism.
  • Understand the difference between a lone wolf/homegrown terrorist and a jihadist in relationship to recent attacks.
  • Discuss the different types of terrorist threats and the agencies in charge of protecting against those threats.
  • Explain how terrorism has changed since 9/11 and the challenges that poses to anti-terrorism efforts.


Predicting and Preparing for the Future

  • Recognize the types of threats that the national security community works to prevent and respond to.
  • Explain the purpose of the National Incident Management System and the National Response Framework, including the five areas of response.
  • Understand the merits of an all-hazards plan and a whole-community approach to preparedness.
  • Identify the core capabilities that make up a response and preparation plan.
  • Analyze potential response scenarios and how agencies practice their responses.


Credits .5

Competency Group Overview

Meets elective credit


  • National Security
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of national security by summarizing the U.S. national security philosophy, describing types of security, and explaining the purpose of the Department of Defense.
  • Rules for Engagement in the National Security World
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of rules for engagement in the national security world by describing international conflict prevention strategies and explaining international conflict engagement rules.
  • National Security Ethics
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of national security ethics by summarizing ethics in national security, explaining laws that enforce ethics, and analyzing ethical issues in national security.
  • Intelligence for National Security
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of intelligence for national security by describing the types of intelligence and describing the types of intelligence agencies.
  • Natural Disasters and Security
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of natural disasters and security by describing the threat to security posed by a national disaster, and analyzing the role of the disaster response system and FEMA in a national disaster.
  • Human-Made Disasters and National Security
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of human-made disasters and national security by explaining types of environmental disasters that threaten national security, explaining types of industrial disasters that threaten national security, and explaining types of human suffering disasters that threaten national security.
  • Terrorism and National Security
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of terrorism and national security by describing national security communication procedures to address threats of terrorism, summarizing national security agencies, and explaining types of terrorism.
  • National Security Crisis Preparation
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of national security crisis preparation by describing the national security preparedness planning process and summarizing the National Response Framework.



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